When the news surfaced that more than a quarter of the 74 industrial parks under the stewardship of Bangladesh Small and Cottage Industries (BSCIC) were established without having undergone any feasibility study, we are not at all surprised that these special zones are performing below par. The whole idea of establishing these special zones was to foster the growth of small and medium enterprises. Yet, the lack of planning and muscling in of bigger industries to gain foothold in these parks have defeated the purpose to a large extent.
A recent study has found that most industrial parks suffer from poor infrastructure support in terms of power and communication. That explains why many entrepreneurs have chosen not to set up shop there. While the plots were designed for small scale enterprises, we are astonished to find that large industry has made inroads into these estates by purchasing numerous plots over time to transform them into a single plot. Needless to say such unscrupulous activity could not have occurred without the connivance of some BSCIC officials.
Looking beyond the problems related to infrastructure and unauthorised practices, policy support in terms of easy access to credit sorely needed by small enterprises has been missing from inception of many of these parks. All this goes to show lack of interest at policy level towards small and medium enterprises. Industrial parks constitute a serious investment of public funds. We would urge BSCIC to treat the matter seriously as such estates are ideal for food, poultry and fishery sectors.